Catacombs of San Gennaro

Historic Site in Naples

Catacombe Di San Gennaro
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Dominik Matus

The Catacombs of San Gennaro are a significant underground paleo-Christian burial and worship site located in Naples, Italy. Carved into the porous tuff stone on the northern slopes leading up to Capodimonte, these catacombs are notable for their spacious passageways and two levels: San Gennaro Superiore and San Gennaro Inferiore, situated beneath the Rione Sanità neighborhood, sometimes known as the “Valley of the Dead.”

Historical Overview of the Catacombs of San Gennaro

Originally, this site comprised three separate cemeteries dedicated to Saints Gaudiosus, Severus, and Januarius, with the latter giving the catacombs their name. The oldest part, dating back to the 3rd-4th centuries, possibly began as a pre-Christian cemetery before becoming a prominent Christian burial site following the entombment of Bishop Agrippinus. Over time, the catacombs expanded to incorporate adjacent burial areas and were consecrated to Saint Januarius in the 5th century, whose remains were later transferred to the Cathedral of Naples in the 9th century.

Throughout history, the catacombs served as the final resting place for many Neapolitan bishops and became an important center of religious activity. This includes the Basilica of Agrippinus from the 4th century, featuring altars and ritual spaces carved directly from tuff. However, from the 13th to the 18th century, the catacombs suffered extensive looting. Restoration efforts only began after WWII, during which the catacombs provided shelter to locals. They were reopened in 1969, with modern excavations starting in 1971.

Types of Burials at the Catacombs of San Gennaro

The Catacombs of San Gennaro showcase a variety of burial types:

  • Loculi: Simple vertical niches which are the most common form of burial.
  • Arcosoli: Family funeral areas built into the catacomb walls, often more sophisticated than loculi and sometimes adorned with mosaics or frescoes.
  • Ground pits and sarcophagi: Less common, these burials are made from tuff or recycled materials from older graves.

This site is not only a testament to the early Christian history of Naples but also reflects the adaptation and evolution of burial practices through the centuries.

The Catacombs of San Gennaro appears in our Complete Guide to Visiting Naples!

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Visiting Catacombs of San Gennaro


From Mondays to Sundays from 10 am to 5 pm (Last admission 5 pm)

Closed on Wednesdays



Address: Catacombs of San Gennaro, Via Capodimonte, Naples, Metropolitan City of Naples, Italy
Duration: 20 minutes
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